Danger: Beware of Food Advertisements!

Ice Cream AdWould you be outraged if you saw an ice cream ad that looked like this?  (I’m referring to the message it sends, not my admittedly horrible graphic design skills.)

Actually it’s not much of a stretch from the real ads I have seen lately.  Driving on the freeway for 30 minutes yesterday, I saw two separate Cedar Crest Ice Cream billboard ads that caused me to doubt my eyes.  I wondered, did I really see an ice cream ad that is so blatant about its understanding of the dieting mentality of much of its target audience?

The first one showed a carton of ice cream with the words “Because Monday.”  That’s it, that’s all.  Just two simple words let me know that Cedar Crest understands the way many dieters think:  Monday is going to be back to the grindstone with my diet.  No more ice cream.  🙁  No more pleasure from my food.  🙁 🙁   I had better eat as much ice cream as I can before then.  Bingo!  Sales go up.

The second ad was equally simple, and equally brilliant:  a simple carton of Cedar Crest with three words:  “Carton of Happy.”  Cedar Crest knows that many dieters are emotional eaters.  Feel sad?  Get happy!  Have some Cedar Crest ice cream.  That didn’t quite do it?  Try some more; maybe that will work.  It can be a very slippery slope, especially when guilt starts to take over, and then how happy are you really?

I can’t blame Cedar Crest.  They get it.  Unfortunately their goal is making money, not your health and real happiness.  These ads are simply “in your face” appeals to the dark side of dieting – the deprivation that leads to overindulgence and the black-and-white thinking that leads to guilt and feelings of failure.  What they are really saying is, “You are deprived.  You need us.  You are sad.  We can help.”  Doesn’t that irritate you just a little?  Just notice what advertisers are doing, and why.  The best way to fight back is to avoid setting yourself up to fall for it.  Get enough to eat – not just on the weekend, but all week long.  Make sure that food gives you enough pleasure, but that you also expand your enjoyment of life into areas beyond food.  It’s summer!  Get outside and look around.  Smell ALL the flowers, not just the roses.  There are many simple pleasures to lift mood, and most contain no calories, trans fat, or added sugar.



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